Tween Tuesdays (18)

Tuesday November 16, 2010

Tween Tuesdays is a meme I first saw at Green Bean Teen Queen and really liked because she is also a librarian who deals with teens and tweens. So, since most of my blog is devoted to YA and teen books I figured that on Tuesdays I can do posts for all the tweeners out there!

The Coming of the Dragon
by Rebecca Barnhouse
October 2010
Random House
Goodreads summary: Rebecca Barnhouse weaves Norse gods, blood feuds, and a terrifying dragon into this spectacular retelling of the end of the Old English poem Beowulf.

When he was a baby, Rune washed up onshore in a boat, along with a sword and a pendant bearing the runes that gave him his nickname. Some people thought he was a sacrifice to the gods and wanted to send him right back to the sea. Luckily for Rune, King Beowulf disagreed. He lifted the boy from the boat and gave him to Amma, a wisewoman living on a farm far removed from the king’s hall, to raise as she saw fit.

Sixteen years later, Rune spends his summers laboring on the farm. And at King Beowulf’s request, he comes to the hall each winter for weapons training. But somehow he never quite fits in. Many people still fear he will bring a curse on the kingdom. Then a terrible thing happens. On a lonely crag on a mountain that belongs to the giants, someone awakens a dragon. It is time for Rune to find the warrior inside himself and prove to the doubters once and for all that he is a true hero.

My thoughts....This is an imaginative tale that focuses on a certain character towards the end of the story Beowulf. In the original story Wiglaf goes with Beowulf to seek out a dragon that has attacked Great-Land. This is the first time Wiglaf has gone to war at Beowulf's side and he proves to him what a great and noble warrior he is. When Beowulf damages his sword wounding the dragon and is burned by the dragon's fire,Wiglaf is the only man fighting with Beowulf to overcome his fear of the dragon and stays by Beowulf's side. He maintains his courage and goes to Beowulf's aid crying words of encouragement. Ultimately, Beowulf names Wiglaf the heir to his kingdom.

The author focuses on this part of the Beowulf story and adds depth and detail of her own to weave an intricate coming-of-age story of a young boy, Rune (although not a part of the original tale, this is the nickname given to Wiglaf in the book.) An author's note at the end of the book states that her story is weaved around questions she has always had about the Beowulf tale...What was it about that dragon that scared away even the noblest of warriors? What was it about Wiglaf that gave him the courage to stay?

This would make an excellent classroom read to add depth to any lessons regarding the Beowulf poem. An adventurous, dragon-slaying tale that is a must for middle school libraries!


GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

This book looks cool! Great for adventure readers and I like that it could be a good classroom addition!:)

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